Former NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion Roger Kirby Passes Away At Age 79

Fightful is sad to report that Roger Kirby passed away on Monday at the age of 79.

The Cauliflower Alley Club Facebook account announced his passing, writing the following message:

wRESTle in Peace
Roger (Willis) Kirby

I don't have the words to say just how broken-hearted I am at this moment. I just got a call from Roger Kirby's wife, Lila. Roger passed away this afternoon at age 79. He fell three weeks ago and broke his hip. In the hospital, they discovered that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He contracted pneumonia and died today.

Roger and I traveled together whenever he came to Tennessee. At our reunion here in 2009, he stood up in front of everyone and told them that I had always been his best friend; and that I was the only person who stayed in touch regularly in the years after we got out of the business. We talked regularly, and every time, before he hung up, he always thanked me for being his friend.

Many people come in and out of out lives during our lifetimes, but there are only a select few we can truly say we loved. For me, Roger is one those special few.

I will never forget Roger or the great times we had together on the road. God bless you, Roger. I will never forget you. Thank you for your friendship. wRESTle in Peace.

Kirby (real name Willis Kirby) made his debut in 1964 under the WWA banner. He is best known for his work in the National Wrestling Alliance. He held the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship from May to September of 1971 and several titles in the various NWA territories, including five reigns as the NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship and five reigns as NWA Central States Tag Team Champion.

He briefly worked in WWF in 1986 as an enhancement talent, but retired shortly after. He last wrestled in 1988 for WWA.

Fightful would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Kirby.

More